Day six of the NO SPEND month is supposed to be one where you consider creating a stash of “freezer meals” for those nights when there just isn’t time to cook.
Freezer meals are a homemade, healthier version of ready to eat meals. The idea is to batch cook the basics (like browning meat), store all ingredients in the freezer (like an entire meal ready to cook in one big freezer bag), and just pull it out and put it in the crock pot or oven when needed.
It’s good in theory, but this is where I am going to stray from the book. Freezer cooking sounds like some form of medieval torture to me. It would require devoting an entire day to preparing and packaging. I’m just not down with that.
And that’s ok.
Just because I am using a book as a guide, doesn’t mean I have to follow every little thing the book says. When going through a no spend challenge, each person (family) is going to have to do what works for them.
So rather than further discussing the woes of freezer cooking, I would like to tell you a few ways I have found to save a couple bucks at the grocery store.
In my small town, we have three grocery stores. One is greatly overpriced (in my opinion) and I choose not to shop there. The other two options are Walmart and Albertsons.
My first tip is to download the store apps. Like most major stores these days, both Walmart and Albertsons have store apps.
In the Albertsons app, utilize the digital coupons. After you shop and use the digital coupons a few times, the app will start personalizing coupons “just for you” based on what you buy most often. It is a great way to save.
The Walmart app doesn’t have digital coupons, but it does have something called the “savings catcher” that is just as good. After you shop Walmart, you simply scan your receipt into the savings catcher and the app goes to work. It searches out prices in surrounding stores and any items that are priced lowered are flagged. After a few days, the app will update the info and you receive the difference! You just scan your phone at checkout like an electronic gift card to get that amount off your next purchase. I like to store my savings for a bit until I reach $10. It is amazing how well this savings catcher works. My family has been able to save quite a bit using it.
I also use two additional apps to create savings for my family. These are Ibotta and Fetch Rewards.
Ibotta is very simple to use and can be used for a variety or stores (including online shopping), not just grocery stores. Basically, you select where you shop, find offers (it’s pretty much like finding digital coupons), select the offers you want, scan your receipt after shopping, and receive rewards. Once you reach $20 you can cash out a reward. I am using my rewards for Amazon gift cards. It takes a little bit of time to accumulate, but it is worth it if you want to save some money.
Fetch Rewards works similarly to Ibotta in that you scan your receipt for rewards, but it is a little less time consuming because you don’t have to physically go through and select the offers you want. I like that Fetch just scans the receipt and finds offers on its own. Fetch rewards points for matching offers and the points can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards. Once again, my family is using it for Amazon gift cards (we like Amazon). If you decide to download the Fetch Rewards app and would like 2,000 bonus points just for scanning your first receipt, you can use my referral code: MH3PJ
So as you can see, I may not be into freezer cooking, but I am finding ways to save money here and there. Groceries can be expensive, especially when you live in a place like I do – far north, not a lot of competition, and out of the way from most major interstates. Utilizing technology helps keep our budget on track for sure.
What apps do you like for saving money?